The Gowda Saraswat Brahmins claim their origin to the Brahmins who lived on the banks of the now extinct river Saraswati of Punjab. They derived their name from either the river Saraswati or from their spiritual leader, the Great Sage Saraswat Muni who lived on the banks of  Saraswati. The exact origin of the Saraswat Brahmins is difficult to ascertain. According to Puranas, they are Aryan migrants from Central Asia who came to the Indian sub-continent through the Hindu-Kush mountains and the Khyber pass to south in about 2000-1500 B.C. The Aryans were pastoral nomads, herding cattle.

Who were the Aryans and where did they come from?

migration pathThe word Aryan comes from the Sanskrit arya meaning noble. Historians believe the original home of the Aryans was in the lands south of the Ural Mountains in what is now Kirghizstan. When life became tough, because food was scarce, drop in temperature and the pressure applied by the yellow-skinned tribes in the north, the Aryans began to move away in different directions. Some went to Greece, some to Iran, and some to Afghanistan. From the eastern front some groups moved to India. The whole process of migration took place between 2000 to 1500 BC. They entered India from the north west and initially settled in the land between the tributaries of the River Indus. There were more than 1200 such settlements of migrants.

Many of them settled along the banks of Saraswati river. They settled to an agrarian life, supplemented by cattle grazing. These settlers along the banks of Saraswati river came to be known as Saraswats.

As time went on, the aryan settlers went south and east along the river valleys and occupied the land between the Himalayas in the north and the Vindhyas in the south. This land, the land of the Aryans, came to be called Aryabarta.

Figure below:The Aryan settlements in Indus region

Aryan settlements

The coming of Aryans marks the beginning of a historic period in India. Between the decline of Harappan civilization 1500 BC and 500 BC is a "dark" period about which little is known.